In the summer, I become a compulsive fruit buyer. As I walk through the Greenmarket, the bursting berries and the plump peaches erase any memory that there's already a bowl full of fruit sitting at home. So then I end up with more plums (and nectarines and tomatoes) than I can reasonably eat while they're still at their peak. This small-batch recipe comes from my first-ever attempt to make jam when I was staring down an avalanche of plums recently. There weren't enough to justify going through the entire preserving process, though, so the batch is small. It derives its sweetness more from the fruit than from sugar, so it isn't too cloying. My favorite ways to enjoy the jam: mixed into plain yogurt and on top of toasted baguette spread with chèvre. —vvvanessa
about 3 cups
fresh, ripe plums (preferably red-fleshed), pitted and cut into big chunks
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble, stirring often. Lower to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, continuing to stir occasionally to keep fruit from scorching. The jam is ready when the fruit is mostly broken down and a good amount of the liquid is evaporated. The jam will continue to thicken as it cools.
Allow to cool to room temperature. Remove the anise, taking care to find any stray arms of the star that might have fallen away. Store the jam in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or freeze in small containers for up to a few months.